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CHAPTER VIII.

A VERY GOOD MEANS TO OBTAIN HUMILITY.

FOR if you consider that these who to-day are so bad may to-morrow be more perfect than yourself, and that, if they had received the gifts that are granted you from above they would lead a far more holy life than yourself, and that you would sin more grievously than they if you were not prevented by a more abundant grace; I say, if you consider these things you will easily observe how fit it were that you should prefer every sinner before yourself. Oh, if you did know the secret of God, how willingly would you give place to others; how gladly would you take the lowest place; how joyfully would you lay yourself at the feet of others; with what alacrity would you attend the sick; how devoutly would you honour all; how affectionately obedient would you be, without any delay or complaint. But yet I require a more 68excellent thing of you, viz., that you place yourself not only below all men in your heart for God’s sake, but also below each creature, reputing yourself as most abject dust, esteeming yourself unworthy to tread on the earth or to enjoy the benefit of light. Look more exactly into yourself—how ungrateful, tepid, unstable, miserable, and vile you are, and by that means you will attain to that most humble submission of mind. If the old enemy knock importunately at the door of your heart, putting into your conceit that you should think yourself somebody, that you should vainly glory and compare yourself with others, repel the subtle villany, lock the doors against him, and although you feel some pestilent immissions, beware always of giving your consent; for if you consent, if you let in the impostor, and incline your mind to his unlawful allurements, you have broken your faith and vow, which you have made to the Bridegroom of your soul; you have polluted the bed of your Beloved, which before flourished; neither can you be admitted to His most blessed familiarity unless you cast out the adulterer and humble yourself exceedingly. And, peradventure, you shall not be received to favour 69unless you be first punished and afflicted for awhile, and that the filthy kisses which the impure spirit . hath imprinted on your soul be razed out by the scourge of God. But enough hath been spoken of this.

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